What Are the Risks of Facelift Surgery?
By Dr. William Cohen on June 30, 2014
When performed skillfully and healed properly, a facelift can significantly reduce signs of aging from a patient’s visage. Wrinkles, loose skin, and drooping features can all be improved through the right facelift technique, giving men and women alike a younger appearance for years to come. Moreover, patients at our Orange County office benefit from a safe procedure that rarely results in post-operative complications. Still, like any surgical procedure, there are certain risks that cannot be completely expunged. If and when you come in for facial plastic surgery, we want you to be completely prepared, both physically and mentally, with the right expectations for treatment. Therefore, take note of the few risks inherent in facelift surgery and what you can do to maximize your overall success.
The Risk of Infection
In any invasive procedure that requires a break in the skin, infection is possible. This risk is greater among surgeries that require larger incisions and damage larger areas of tissue. Although proper surgical practices, technology, and post-operative care can greatly reduce the risk of infection, it is impossible to completely prevent incisions from coming in contact with bacteria. Therefore, patients should keep a careful eye on their incisions during recovery, as well as note any prolonged or increased side effects throughout the early stages of healing. If swelling or pain continues to increase past the first week, it is a good idea to contact your doctor. This is especially true if a fever is present at any time. When caught early, most infections can be easily and effectively treated through antibiotics.
It is unfortunate to think that a cosmetic procedure may also result in aesthetic problems, but healing complications can lead to certain irregularities. In a majority of cases, scarring will only be noticeable during recovery and will fade over time. This is further aided by the placement of incisions, which can even be concealed early on by one’s hair. However, patients who are predisposed to hypertrophic or keloid scarring may be at risk of far more noticeable and long-lasting scars. Speak with your doctor if you have ever experienced a scar that remained discolored and raised, as this may be an indication of future skin irregularities after surgery.
Because incisions are placed at the hairline, there is also a small risk of nearby hair follicles being damaged. In most cases, this is temporary and results in the loss of only a few strands of hair. Depending on the placement of your incisions, however, it is possible for some patches of hair to be permanently lost. If this is the case, individual hair follicles from elsewhere on your scalp can be transplanted to the bald spot, restoring your regular appearance.
Patients undergoing facelift surgery may also face a minute but potential risk of:
- Nerve injury: If nerves are damaged during surgery, it may result in weakened or numbed muscles in the face. Although this can be permanent, most cases of nerve injury do heal in time.
- Hematomas or seromas: Blood or fluid may become trapped in a pocket under the skin. This puts pressure on nearby blood flow, restricting circulation. Hematomas and seromas may resolve on their own or can be drained by a doctor, depending on their severity.
- Skin necrosis: If a hematoma or seroma goes untreated, it may lead to the decay and loss of overlying skin layers. This results in additional scarring of the area.
Minimizing your Risks
Most risks can be greatly reduced by seeking treatment from a plastic surgeon with a wealth of experience and qualifications. Dr. Cohen is recognized as a skilled facial plastic surgeon, with numerous awards, publications, and credentials to his name.
Aside from the procedure itself, genetic predisposition, overall health, and lifestyle can all increase one’s chances of developing complications after facelift surgery.
As an initial precautionary measure, speak with your doctor at length about your concerns and medical history, as this will help determine your candidacy for a safe procedure. Tobacco use and certain medications, for instance, can increase one’s chances of developing a health complication, and should therefore be avoided for a given time. Through a personal consultation, you can learn more about how to decrease any significant facelift risks.
Visit Our Office
We are eager to discuss your own goals for cosmetic surgery and which methods can provide you with the safest, most satisfying results. Contact us to set up an initial consultation with Dr. Cohen.
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